What You Can Do if You Lose Your Financial Aid

By Kaitlin Hurtado on February 11, 2018

One of the more daunting aspects of college is having to pay for it. While there are plenty of scholarships out there to help get you through your college education, students can find themselves without their financial aid for one reason or another. It could be due to not fulfilling academic requirements that come with financial aid eligibility or failing to turn in necessary financial aid forms on time, but regardless of the reason, losing your financial aid can seem like the worst case scenario and the end of your college run.

However, if you have lost your financial aid, you will always have other options to help you pay for college and here are just a few methods you can try to aid you in paying for college.

man, sitting on couch,

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Figure out why you’ve lost your financial aid

Sometimes losing your financial aid is no surprise – your grades have gradually been slipping and have caused your GPA to drop below 2.0 (which is the standard minimum GPA for financial aid eligibility). Or it could blindside you – with so many activities on your plate, an important deadline could have completely slipped your mind until you get a notice of your canceled financial aid.

Whatever the reason, make sure you are aware of the exact reason you have lost your financial aid and if there is any way you can get it back. Contact your financial aid office for your options. If you have lost your financial aid because of your academic GPA, there is the possibility to see if you can become eligible for financial aid through an academic progress plan. If you are planning on working up to a higher GPA to get your financial aid back, make sure you are aware of the time frame it will take to get your GPA back up and if you can realistically pay for college in that time frame without financial aid.

Take out a private loan 

While you may have lost out on the loans offered through your university, there are always other loans you can take out if you still need money for college. Private student loans are funded by your bank, online lender, or credit union. They may seem a lot more daunting than federal student loans, as they usually don’t come with flat interest rates and your interest varies on your own credit score (or your cosigner’s credit score).

The application process and eligibility requirements vary between different banks and lenders, but will usually have you provide documents that prove your citizenship, identity, and income along with proof of enrollment and education costs. If you don’t have a steady income or bad credit, you will need a co-signer in order to take on a private loan.

Pick from the many scholarships out there 

If taking out private loans doesn’t seem like an option that suits you in the long run, there is always the option of applying for scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships out there – the general 1-click application scholarships for a quick and easy chance or longer application that require an essay.

With so many scholarships to choose from, try narrowing down your search by the type of scholarship you want to apply for. If you know the career field you are trying to go into, try looking for scholarships associated with your desired career or current major to narrow down the pool of applicants. If you have gone through many volunteer experiences, go for a scholarship that requires its applicants to do some type of volunteer work.

While the thought of getting money to help get you through college without having to pay it back may seem like a dream come true, make sure you are reading the fine print of the scholarship(s) you are applying for. Any scholarship that requires you to put in your bank information or asks for money upfront is most likely going to be a scam. On the other hand, some scholarships are completely genuine but run on a pay-it-forward basis and will require you to pay the money back some years later.

Consider your other options, no matter how unappealing 

Sometimes taking on another loan or going through scholarship applications unsuccessfully isn’t going to be your best option, and luckily, there are still more options for you to consider. If you know that realistically, you can pay for college if you were working and had money saved up – you can try taking an academic term off to work your way up to savings that could pay for college and help you develop a plan to pay for college without financial aid.

If taking a term off is the last thing on your mind, consider transferring colleges. Of course, this is more reasonable if you are early on in your undergraduate program to be able to move and keep it cost effective. Transferring to a college back home can be a very reasonable option as if your parents allow you to live at home rent-free you can skip out on spending money on rent and other costs of living on your own. It allows you to save up or use your money toward tuition instead of sending every paycheck to paying your monthly rent.

Losing your financial aid can seem like the call for the end of your time at college, but always know that there are other options to help you get through college. It may take you longer than you had planned for if you need to take time off to work to save up money, or figure out your financial aid option, but you can get back to your graduation plan through other methods.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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